All texts submitted must include an “Ethics Statement” and “Conflict of Interest Statement”, located after the main text and before the bibliography.
Research published must comply with the internationally accepted standards for research practices and reporting. A manuscript may be rejected if the editor knows that the research was not conducted within the appropriate ethical framework, and any concerns that arise after publication may result in corrections, revocation, or disclosure of concerns in accordance with the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines.
Studies involving human subjects (including research on identifiable human data and materials) must have been carried out with the approval of the appropriate ethics committee and with the informed consent of all participants in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration.
The authors must state the name of the ethics committee or other relevant authority that approved the study protocol, and write down the reference number if necessary. If ethical approval is not required, or if the research has been granted an exception to the need for ethical approval, this must also be explained in the text (including the name of the ethics committee that made the decision).
All studies involving human subjects requires written consent of willingness to participate in in the research from participants, or a parent/guardian. This statement must be included in the text. Studies involving vulnerable participants or participants who are or at risk of coercion must provide detailed information on the steps taken to ensure their consent. If consent is not given, the reasons for this must be stated, and whether it was approved by the ethics committee.
Authors must avoid disclosing information on participants’ identities unless it is absolutely necessary for submission. Attributes that could identify participants must be made anonymous in the text and any additional files. If identifiable information is required, the authors must confirm that the individuals have given written consent to use this information in the publication. Manuscripts that feature case reports must include a statement detailing that written permission for publication was obtained and stating from whom this permission was obtained. If a patient has died, approval for publication must be obtained from their closest relative. If the patient described in the case report is minor or vulnerable, then approval for publication must be obtained from a parent/legal guardian.
Clinical Trials: Manuscripts that report clinical trials must comply with the relevant reporting guidelines for the design of the study (for example CONSORT for randomized controlled trials, TREND for non-randomized trials, or other relevant reporting guidelines detailed on the Equator Network website).
SMJ adopts the WHO definition of clinical trials, which is: “a clinical trial is any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes […]. Interventions include but are not restricted to drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiologic procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc. This definition includes Phase I to Phase IV trials.”
Studies involving animals: Experimental research on regulated vertebrates or invertebrates must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) or equivalent ethics committee, and must follow internationally recognized guidelines such as the ARRIVE guidelines. The authors must state the name of the ethics committee or other relevant authority that approved the research protocol and include the reference number if applicable.
If ethical approval is not required, or if the research has been granted an exception to the need for ethical approval, then this must also be explained in the text (including the name of the ethics committee that made the decision). Additional information should be included in studies that report animal deaths as an end result or endpoint. Other types of studies, including field studies and non-experimental research on animals, must comply with local or international guidelines and must be approved by an appropriate ethics committee prior to commencement.
Conflict of Interest Statement
Authors are required to disclose any conflicts of interest. All forms of financial support and involvement (for example, work, consultations, honorariums, share ownership and options, expert testimonies, grants or patents received or suspended, royalties) that occurred in the previous three years must be listed, regardless of their possible relevance to the article written. Non-financial relationships (personal, political, or professional) that have the potential to have influenced the writing of the manuscript must also be stated.
Author Contributions Statement
A short statement detailing the contribution of each person referred to as an author must be included in the Author Contribution section. Contributors to the paper that do not fulfil the criteria must be listed in the Acknowledgements section. If an author is added to or removed from the list that has already been submitted, it must be accompanied by a statement signed by all registered authors, confirming the change.